Most of us don’t really think about our lungs. Unless we are sick and breathing becomes strained or uncomfortable, the lungs hardly cross our minds. Even though we don’t think much about them, our lungs are constantly working for us. Since birth, before we understand anything else about the world, our instinct to breathe is present. It is second-nature for our lungs to fill our bodies with clean oxygen, protect our airways, and release carbon dioxide – all with very little praise.
For some, taking advantage of our lungs is a thing of the past. COVID-19, the widespread pandemic that devastated the world, has caused us to rethink the way we view our natural immunities, especially when it comes to lung and respiratory health. The virus forcefully impacts the respiratory system, jeopardizing one of our most primary vital functions – our breathing.
Of course, contracting a sickness of this magnitude is scary. As a result, plenty of retailers are starting to sell “lung detox“ wellness products. Not only are many of these products ineffective, but they also make false claims. If the product is promising a miracle solution, be wary.
The best way to detox your lungs is naturally, and you shouldn’t have to spend a penny. Before impulse-purchasing a “too good to be true” product because you’re afraid to get sick, check out these natural ways to detox your lungs.
Note: These options will not make you immune to the coronavirus (or to getting sick in general), but they do improve your lung function and increase your overall lung and breathing health.
Three Natural Lung Cleansing Tips
There are many natural ways to cleanse and detoxify your lungs. We have listed our favorite three because they are the absolute easiest and most effective, and they can be done at home.
Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do for your lungs is to engage in intentional deep breathing exercises. Some individuals accomplish this by participating in yoga, meditation, or other exercises that have a breathing component. You can also engage in deep breathing techniques separate from any exercise, and in five minutes or less, you can improve your lung functioning and strengthen your diaphragm (your primary “breathing muscle”).
The most popular deep breathing exercises are 4-7-8 breathing and 2-1 breathing. Both of these simple techniques are easy to remember, as the instructions are in their name. Here’s a quick step-by-step to get you started:
For this deep breathing exercise, simply:
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lay down.
- Release all air from your lungs.
- Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
- Forcefully exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds.
Repeat up to four times. If this feels like a challenge, you can start by modifying the exercise by breathing in for 2 seconds, holding your breath for 3.5 seconds, then exhaling for 4 seconds. In time, your lungs will be stronger.
This breathing exercise is even more simple than the previous method. The entire technique simply requires that you breathe in and out of your nose at a 2 to 1 ratio. For example:
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lay down, and completely relax all muscles and tension.
- Release all air from your lungs.
- Breathe in through your nose for 2 seconds.
- Exhale from your nose for 1 second.
- Repeat up to 5 cycles of this pattern.
This exercise can easily be modified, as long as you maintain the 2-1 ratio. For example, you can breathe in for 4 seconds and out for 2, you can breathe in for 8 seconds and out for 4, etc. Repeating this pattern will not only help detox your lungs, but it also offers you emotional benefits, too! Deep breathing is known to help with stress management, making it an appealing natural option.
With any new breathing exercise, remember: be patient with yourself. You are strengthening your lungs and diaphragm, and engaging your breathing in a new way, so it’s common to sometimes feel lightheaded at first. Modify the exercises as necessary to accommodate your comfort level.
One of the most effective ways to detox your lungs is at home by simply inhaling steam. There are many ways this can be accomplished. Whether by breathing in steam from a steamer, or heating water and pouring it in a bowl and inhaling steam that way, steam therapy is highly effective. Some even take hot showers to deeply inhale the steam. However you choose to do it, the results are noteworthy. Inhale and exhale deeply through your nose, and repeat for up to 10 minutes.
No matter which method you choose, it is important that you exercise extra caution when dealing with steam because you can easily burn yourself. Take as many precautions as possible if you choose to implement this lung-cleansing option.
Increasing physical activity benefits much more than just your waistline. Studies have shown that raising your heart rate and increasing your breathing pace actually helps flush toxins from your lungs and increases your overall lung capacity.
In addition, if you exercise outside, the fresh air in your lungs helps expand the tissues in your lungs to help them function optimally, so the benefits keep adding up.
Change Your Diet
A healthy diet is always important. Not only does it improve your overall health, but certain foods can also actually improve your lung function.
One suggestion is to add lots of foods rich in vitamin D. One study in 2017 showed that healthy levels of vitamin D helped to reduce the number of asthma attacks in the patients studied who required corticosteroid treatment. By adding more healthy sources of vitamin D like sardines, salmon, and eggs, you could be doing your lungs a big favor.
Anti-inflammatory foods are another winner when it comes to lung health. Many of the issues that people have with their lungs are because of inflammation in their airways. Green tea, dark chocolate, broccoli, and turmeric not only contain lots of antioxidants but are also known to reduce the amount of inflammation in the body as well.
One slightly unusual suggestion that we found has to do with the type of food that you eat. The recommendation is to reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet. This is because, when your body metabolizes carbohydrates, it tends to produce more carbon dioxide and use more oxygen than when it metabolizes fats. Who knew?!
Don’t forget: When your goal is to detox your lungs and improve their overall resilience and functioning, remember: There is no miracle cure. There is very little evidence that a pill or supplement of any kind can help cleanse your lungs, and in fact, some could worsen a current condition. Always consult your doctor before trying any so-called “lung cleansing” product for your safety.
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